In a global academic system structured around research rankings, universities have ratcheted up expectations on academic staff to be research active, to present at conferences and to publish papers. This in turn has led to growing numbers of new journals, publishing outlets and conference venues. This chapter explores the political economy of this emergent research and publishing infrastructure and the experiences of researchers attending conferences and publishing papers. Many of these spaces and publishing venues are marginalised or invisible in a stratified prestige economy and its gatekeeping of quality and credibility. The science media focuses on the risks of so-called “predatory” conferencing and publishing, a discourse adopted and amplified by the major global publishers. The chapter argues that such judgements distract from a clearer understanding of the institutional logics and economics of academic publishing. The chapter develops a more nuanced understanding of these delegitimised spaces, drawing on recent empirical qualitative research.